Have you prepared your farewell speech before passing on? Would you even have to? Or would the way you lived your life speak volumes for you? Have you glorified the Lord Your God by your life? Have you suffered for Christ’s namesake? Or has it only been about you and your own sufferings? How many souls have You saved? How many strays have you brought back home to God Your Heavenly Father? How many have experienced your acts of love and mercy?

Jesus loves and prays for you. He wants you to be the best version of yourself for you and for others. Listen to Him speaking to you in today’s Gospel. Replace the word ‘them’ with your own name and see just how much the Lord our God loves you! Amen

St Philip Neri pray for us….

First reading

Acts 20:17-27 ·
I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose

From Miletus Paul sent for the elders of the church of Ephesus. When they arrived he addressed these words to them:
‘You know what my way of life has been ever since the first day I set foot among you in Asia, how I have served the Lord in all humility, with all the sorrows and trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I have not hesitated to do anything that would be helpful to you; I have preached to you, and instructed you both in public and in your homes, urging both Jews and Greeks to turn to God and to believe in our Lord Jesus.
‘And now you see me a prisoner already in spirit; I am on my way to Jerusalem, but have no idea what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit, in town after town, has made it clear enough that imprisonment and persecution await me. But life to me is not a thing to waste words on, provided that when I finish my race I have carried out the mission the Lord Jesus gave me – and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God’s grace.
‘I now feel sure that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will ever see my face again. And so here and now I swear that my conscience is clear as far as all of you are concerned, for I have without faltering put before you the whole of God’s purpose.’

Gospel

John 17:1-11
Father, it is time for you to glorify me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this: to know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you before ever the world was.
I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me,
because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’


Jesus has conquered the world! Do we realise how awesome this is and what it means for us? Yes we have it in mind that Jesus died for us to save us from sins and that we have hope of eternal life with Him. However we often overlook the fact that because Jesus conquered the world, we too can conquer the world through Him! This means we can live fully liberated in His love and in the spirit of truth.Our call then as children of God our Father is to live Holy chaste lives. While not all of us will be chosen to have anointed venerable hands like our shepherds in Holy orders; we are all chosen people, a royal priesthood! And so are called to lead others into a deeper conversion, by their repentance and reconciliation to God our Heavenly Father. Those of us who are willing to sacrifice for our Lord’s namesake and for our brethren will be given the grace to lay hands amongst other things. For our Lord promised “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.” John 14:12 Amen

First reading

Acts 19:1-8 ·
The moment Paul laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on themWhile Apollos was in Corinth, Paul made his way overland as far as Ephesus, where he found a number of disciples. When he asked, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ they answered, ‘No, we were never even told there was such a thing as a Holy Spirit.’ ‘Then how were you baptised?’ he asked. ‘With John’s baptism’ they replied. ‘John’s baptism’ said Paul ‘was a baptism of repentance; but he insisted that the people should believe in the one who was to come after him – in other words, Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, and the moment Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came down on them, and they began to speak with tongues and to prophesy. There were about twelve of these men.
He began by going to the synagogue, where he spoke out boldly and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. He did this for three months.

Gospel

John 16:29-33
Be brave, for I have conquered the worldHis disciples said to Jesus, ‘Now you are speaking plainly and not using metaphors! Now we see that you know everything, and do not have to wait for questions to be put into words; because of this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them:‘Do you believe at last?
Listen; the time will come – in fact it has come already – when you will be scattered,
each going his own way and leaving me alone.
And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may find peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world.’

Seventh Sunday in Easter

Posted: May 24, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Knowing God: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Seventh Sunday in Easter

Readings:

Acts 1:12—14
Psalm 27:1, 4, 7—8
1 Peter 4:13—16
John 17:1—11

Jesus has been taken up into heaven as we begin today’s First Reading. His disciples—including the Apostles and Mary—return to the upper room where He celebrated the Last Supper (see Luke 22:12).
There, they devote themselves with one accord to prayer, awaiting the Spirit that He promised would come upon them (see Acts 1:8).
The unity of the early Church at Jerusalem is a sign of the oneness that Christ prays for in today’s Gospel. The Church is to be a communion on earth that mirrors the glorious union of Father, Son, and Spirit in the Trinity.

Jesus has proclaimed God’s name to His brethren (see Hebrews 2:12; Psalm 22:23). The prophets had foretold this revelation—a new covenant by which all flesh would have knowledge of the Lord (see Jeremiah 31:33–34; Habakkuk 2:14).

By the new covenant made in His blood and remembered in every Eucharist, we know God as our Father. This is the eternal life Jesus promises. And this is the light and salvation we sing of in today’s Psalm.

As God made light to shine out of darkness when the world began, He has enlightened us in Baptism, making us new creations (see 2 Corinthians 5:17), giving us knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (see Hebrews 10:32; 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Our new life is a gift of “the Spirit of glory,” we hear in today’s Epistle (see John 7:38–39). Made one in His name, we are given a new name—“Christians”—a name used only here and in two other places in the Bible (see Acts 11:16; 26:28). We are to glorify God, though we will be insulted and suffer because of this name.

But as we share in His sufferings, we know we will overcome (see Revelation 3:12) and rejoice when His glory is once more revealed. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives.


I believe my biggest misconception was that I needed to ‘do’ certain things and wait for an appropriate date and time for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in order to experience a renewal or a more in depth faith experience. When in actual fact it has always been about my very own personal relationship with the Lord my God. I had already received the Holy Spirit at my baptism where I was confirmed a child of God our Father for all eternity. Through prayer and knowing His will for me through His Word, I am living in the Spirit. And so if there are times when I lack the confidence to share about a certain faith topic, reading, or faith formation, I simply pray for guidance from the Holy spirit and start speaking. He will take all I had prepared to yet another level! He fills the gaps and the void.So sisters and brothers in Christ let us start this very day in building and strengthening our relationship with our one triune God; through constant prayer, scripture and being docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to put mercy and love in action for the least of our brethren. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:23-28 ·
Apollos demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the ChristPaul came down to Antioch, where he spent a short time before continuing his journey through the Galatian country and then through Phrygia, encouraging all the followers.
An Alexandrian Jew named Apollos now arrived in Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, with a sound knowledge of the scriptures, and yet, though he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord and preached with great spiritual earnestness and was accurate in all the details he taught about Jesus, he had only experienced the baptism of John. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they took an interest in him and gave him further instruction about the Way.
When Apollos thought of crossing over to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote asking the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived there he was able by God’s grace to help the believers considerably by the energetic way he refuted the Jews in public and demonstrated from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Gospel

John 16:23-28
The Father loves you for loving me and believing that I came from GodJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly,
anything you ask for from the Father he will grant in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.
I have been telling you all this in metaphors,
the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father in plain words.
When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father himself loves you for loving me and believing that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I leave the world to go to the Father.’


Why do we allow ourselves to be silenced when sharing the joy of our faith with others? Especially with family members? I am not suggesting that we should ‘force’ them to listen when they shut their ears. But why are we even reluctant to try or even proceed with the norms of our very own homes when we have guests? What do I mean? Well for instance if we decided to invite folks over for a dinner in our homes for Easter and the guests include a few who are not Christians or are Christians of a different denomination. Why are many uncomfortable to proceed with grace before meals? And if they do decide to pray, why do they not begin with the sign of the cross? Why are they unwilling to share the joy of having the risen Lord in their lives in conversation or to share why is Easter special and why do we celebrate it over fifty days??Is the same Risen Lord not present with us today as He was with St Paul? Why are we fearful of being seen as Holy? Are we afraid that by being seen as holy men and women we give the impression we are not fun loving or are suddenly stiff necked? If we are seen as such then perhaps it is because we are not living fully ourselves in the presence of our Risen Lord through prayer and His Word. We have not grown in our own relationship with Him. Perhaps we have not been outward reaching in our faith by being prepared to suffer for Him and for the least of our brethren? For if we are living fully in the presence of our living Lord and God then everyone we meet should see the joy on our faces which reflect what is in our hearts. They will experience our Lord Jesus Christ, His love and mercy through us. Amen

First reading

Acts 18:9-18 ·
‘I have many people on my side in this city’At Corinth one night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid to speak out, nor allow yourself to be silenced: I am with you. I have so many people on my side in this city that no one will even attempt to hurt you.’ So Paul stayed there preaching the word of God among them for eighteen months.
But, while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a concerted attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. ‘We accuse this man’ they said ‘of persuading people to worship God in a way that breaks the Law.’ Before Paul could open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘Listen, you Jews. If this were a misdemeanour or a crime, I would not hesitate to attend to you; but if it is only quibbles about words and names, and about your own Law, then you must deal with it yourselves – I have no intention of making legal decisions about things like that.’ Then he sent them out of the court, and at once they all turned on Sosthenes, the synagogue president, and beat him in front of the court house. Gallio refused to take any notice at all.
After staying on for some time, Paul took leave of the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut off, because of a vow he had made.

Gospel

John 16:20-23
Your hearts will be full of joy that no-one will take from youJesus said to his disciples:‘I tell you most solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.
A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a man has been born into the world.
So it is with you: you are sad now, but I shall see you again, and your hearts will be full of joy, and that joy no one shall take from you.
When that day comes, you will not ask me any questions.’


How can we fathom the depths, wisdom, power but most of all the love of God our Father for us His children. That He would allow and thus give us free Will to reject Him; or to choose to love and honour Him by our lives. Even then when many had chosen to reject and dishonour Him by their heinous sins, He gave us His only Begotten Son Jesus to save them together with all of us that is all His children. He chose once again not to abandon any of us. By the rising of Jesus from the dead, we have hope of eternal life with Him.And so the Spirit of truth reveals to us that we should repent and turn our hearts back to Him. For the choices we ultimately make will determine if we will have our heavenly inheritance or not. The reality of it all is that our lives on earth are shortlived! Let us choose then to live our lives to the full in the Lord our God’s mercy and love. Amen

First reading

Acts 17:15,22-18:1I proclaim the God you already worship without knowing itPaul’s escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with instructions for Silas and Timothy to rejoin Paul as soon as they could. So Paul stood before the whole Council of the Areopagus and made this speech: ‘Men of Athens, I have seen for myself how extremely scrupulous you are in all religious matters, because I noticed, as I strolled round admiring your sacred monuments, that you had an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. Well, the God whom I proclaim is in fact the one whom you already worship without knowing it. ‘Since the God who made the world and everything in it is himself Lord of heaven and earth, he does not make his home in shrines made by human hands. Nor is he dependent on anything that human hands can do for him, since he can never be in need of anything; on the contrary, it is he who gives everything – including life and breath – to everyone. From one single stock he not only created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth, but he decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundaries of its territory should be. And he did this so that all nations might seek the deity and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. Yet in fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and exist, as indeed some of your own writers have said:“We are all his children.”‘Since we are the children of God, we have no excuse for thinking that the deity looks like anything in gold, silver or stone that has been carved and designed by a man. ‘God overlooked that sort of thing when men were ignorant, but now he is telling everyone everywhere that they must repent, because he has fixed a day when the whole world will be judged, and judged in righteousness, and he has appointed a man to be the judge. And God has publicly proved this by raising this man from the dead.’ At this mention of rising from the dead, some of them burst out laughing; others said, ‘We would like to hear you talk about this again.’ After that Paul left them, but there were some who attached themselves to him and became believers, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman called Damaris, and others besides. After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.

Gospel

John 16:12-15The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truthJesus said to his disciples:‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 19, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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It is though the Holy Spirit we feel and know that Christ is present in our midst. It is the Holy Spirit that steers us away from sin and temptation. The one who keeps us liberated to live in the love the Lord our God, and empowers us to bring the joy of the Gospel to all.And so sisters and brothers in Christ, as we count down to pentecost, let us pray fervently in the Spirit, singing God’s praises as we prepare our hearts to receive a fresh outpouring; so that together we will renew the world by our faith, love, and actions for love of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:22-34 ·
Become a believer and you will be saved, and your household tooThe crowd joined in and showed their hostility to Paul and Silas, so the magistrates had them stripped and ordered them to be flogged. They were given many lashes and then thrown into prison, and the gaoler was told to keep a close watch on them. So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Late that night Paul and Silas were praying and singing God’s praises, while the other prisoners listened. Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the prison to its foundations. All the doors flew open and the chains fell from all the prisoners. When the gaoler woke and saw the doors wide open he drew his sword and was about to commit suicide, presuming that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Don’t do yourself any harm; we are all here.’ The gaoler called for lights, then rushed in, threw himself trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas, and escorted them out, saying, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Become a believer in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, and your household too.’ Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all his family. Late as it was, he took them to wash their wounds, and was baptised then and there with all his household. Afterwards he took them home and gave them a meal, and the whole family celebrated their conversion to belief in God.

Gospel

John 16:5-11
Unless I go, the Advocate will not come to youJesus said to his disciples:‘Now I am going to the one who sent me.
Not one of you has asked, “Where are you going?”
Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this.
Still, I must tell you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I do go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will show the world how wrong it was, about sin, and about who was in the right, and about judgement: about sin: proved by their refusal to believe in me; about who was in the right: proved by my going to the Father and your seeing me no more; about judgement: proved by the prince of this world being already condemned.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 18, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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Everyone and anyone must be accorded the same privilege of the good news of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Himself who can open the heart of those listening to receive and accept His word. For our part we are simply called to live in the Spirit so as to share the spirit of truth who will bear witness to our loving saviour.

For as many hearts are converted to our Lord, we must be prepared that double or triple that number will reject the message of love. Still every soul is precious in His eyes, and so we must endeavour to touch as many lives as we can on our pilgrim journey back to Him.Come Holy Spirit dwell in my heart, let the fire of my Lord’s love consume me that I may be a powerful instrument of His grace. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:11-15 ·
The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to accept what Paul was sayingSailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.

Gospel

John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of truth will be my witnessJesus said to his disciples:‘When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness. And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues,
and indeed the hour is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this, so that when the time for it comes you may remember that I told you.’

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Posted: May 16, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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Alive in the Spirit: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Sixth Sunday of Easter

Readings:

Acts 8:5–8, 14–17
Psalm 66:1–7, 16, 20
1 Peter 3:15–18
John 14:15–21

Jesus will not leave us alone. He won’t make us children of God in Baptism only to leave us “orphans,” He assures us in today’s Gospel (see Romans 8:14–17).
He asks the Father to give us His Spirit, to dwell with us and keep us united in the life He shares with the Father.
We see the promised gift of His Spirit being conferred in today’s First Reading.
The scene from Acts apparently depicts a primitive Confirmation rite. Philip, one of the first deacons (see Acts 6:5), proclaims the Gospel in the non-Jewish city of Samaria. The Samaritans accept the Word of God (see Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) and are baptized.

It remains for the Apostles to send their representatives, Peter and John, to pray and lay hands on the newly baptized—that they might receive the Holy Spirit. This is the origin of our sacrament of Confirmation (see Acts 19:5–6), by which the grace of Baptism is completed and believers are sealed with the Spirit promised by the Lord.

We remain in this grace so long as we love Christ and keep His commandments. And strengthened in the Spirit whom Jesus said would be our Advocate, we are called to bear witness to our salvation—to the tremendous deeds that God has done for us in the name of His Son.

In today’s Psalm, we celebrate our liberation. As He changed the sea into dry land to free the captive Israelites, Christ suffered that He might lead us to God, as we hear in today’s Epistle.

This is the reason for our hope—the hope that sustains us in the face of a world that cannot accept His truth, the hope that sustains us when we are maligned and defamed for His name’s sake.

Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the Spirit, Paul tells us today. And as He himself promises: “Because I live, you will live.”


It is one thing to be disliked, quite another to be hated. What does it mean to be hated? Total rejection! Such that anything spoken or thoughts of what might be spoken causes irritation and disgust. Out of sight! Otherwise out of mind retaliation sets in? But why Lord? Why is there hate in the world and especially for us Christians?The truth as spoken is that we are created in the image and likeness of God our Heavenly Father. And so we are not products or rather children of the world, we belong to God our Father. Therefore there is no room for sin or evil in our hearts, of which such thrives in the world. And so long as we are living in the world, striving to avoid all sin and to be loving after the heart of God, we will be hated. I’m sure some of you might have had this experience, where there was a group of friends you hung out with partying without consequences or care. Then one day when you decided to follow Jesus the same group of ‘friends’ treated you like an outcast and avoided you like the plague! Well this is to be expected says our Lord in today’s Gospel. We can only pray that one day our friends too will experience the joy of the Risen Lord in their lives.For now let us live in the spirit, sharing the joy of the Gospel with all whom will listen and living out the Gospel truths in our very own lives. Amen

First reading

Acts 16:1-10 ·
‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’From Cilicia Paul went to Derbe, and then on to Lystra. Here there was a disciple called Timothy, whose mother was a Jewess who had become a believer; but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy, and Paul, who wanted to have him as a travelling companion, had him circumcised. This was on account of the Jews in the locality where everyone knew his father was a Greek.
As they visited one town after another, they passed on the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, with instructions to respect them.
So the churches grew strong in the faith, as well as growing daily in numbers.
They travelled through Phrygia and the Galatian country, having been told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.
One night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us.’ Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.

Gospel

John 15:18-21
The world hated me before it hated youJesus said to his disciples:‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.
Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.
If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.
But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me.’


How can we fully understand the loving nature of the Lord our God? Was it not enough that God Himself would come in the flesh, in the person of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ to save us from eternal death? How are we expected to grasp the idea of God identifying Himself as our friend? Not of being in a subservient relationship but one of equal standing? One in You as You are one in me? How is that even possible? Me a sinner with a whole lists of blots and blemishes, yet a friend of Jesus? Why would you choose me Lord to bear fruit? How is it you see the potential in me that I may not see in myself let alone others?The same kind of extraordinary love and friendship that comes from the Lord our God is portrayed in the acts of the Apostles. How guided my the Holy Spirit they were very concerned and took extra care in dealing with the new Christians of pagan birth. Church fathers and leaders extending a warm welcome and friendship and embracing the differences in culture while still guiding the flock to the way, the truth and the life to be found in Christ alone. This is our Church, this is our God, and with one voice we acclaim….What a friend we have in Jesus! Amen

First reading

Acts 15:22-31 ·
It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by us not to burden you beyond these essentialsThe apostles and elders decided to choose delegates to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; the whole church concurred with this. They chose Judas known as Barsabbas and Silas, both leading men in the brotherhood, and gave them this letter to take with them:
‘The apostles and elders, your brothers, send greetings to the brothers of pagan birth in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. We hear that some of our members have disturbed you with their demands and have unsettled your minds. They acted without any authority from us; and so we have decided unanimously to elect delegates and to send them to you with Barnabas and Paul, men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accordingly we are sending you Judas and Silas, who will confirm by word of mouth what we have written in this letter. It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right. Farewell.’
The party left and went down to Antioch, where they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.

Gospel

John 15:12-17
What I command you is to love one anotherJesus said to his disciples:‘This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’


We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We may think that we had chosen Jesus, but in reality Jesus chose us and even commissioned us to bear fruit with a trust that we will indeed bear much fruit. Yes it is the Lord our God who is the first to love and to be merciful and we may never fully grasp the extent of His love for us in our lifetime.Still if we declare that we love Him then we must do our best to revere, honour and glorify Him by our lives through our love and actions for Him and for one another. We must be reverent in our approach in appointing leaders through prayer and discernment guided by the Holy Spirit afterall the leaders we appoint will be shepherds after our own. Every leader chosen in a sense must be prepared to lay down His life for the ones under His care.Whether or not we are called to be leaders ourselves, the priority for each and everyone of us is to love! Love one another as Jesus loves us. AmenSt Matthias pray for us….

First reading

Acts 1:15-17,20-26 ·
‘Let someone else take his office’One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:Let his camp be reduced to ruin,
Let there be no one to live in it.And again:Let someone else take his office.‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’
Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.

Gospel

John 15:9-17
You are my friends if you do what I command youJesus said to his disciples:‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know his master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me: no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you is to love one another.’


How connected are you to Holy mother Church at this time? Especially with all that is going on in the world and drastic changes to the way we now worship and praise God had taken place. Did you choose to adapt and stay connected to our Lord Jesus Christ? Or did you decide that No! I do not agree with all that is going on and will simply wait till everything is restored as it should be?The problem with the latter and consequence of it, is as Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.” And so we must strive especially in this time of uncertainty to cling more tightly to our Lord Jesus Christ through prayer and the guidance of His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Through the Holy Spirit, our eyes are opened to the reality that we are being pruned at this time, and will surely bear much fruit.Praise and glory be to our Risen Lord. Alleluia!

First reading

Acts 15:1-6
They were to go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and eldersSome men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, ‘Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.’ This led to disagreement, and after Paul and Barnabas had had a long argument with these men it was arranged that Paul and Barnabas and others of the church should go up to Jerusalem and discuss the problem with the apostles and elders.
All the members of the church saw them off, and as they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria they told how the pagans had been converted, and this news was received with the greatest satisfaction by the brothers. When they arrived in Jerusalem they were welcomed by the church and by the apostles and elders, and gave an account of all that God had done with them.
But certain members of the Pharisees’ party who had become believers objected, insisting that the pagans should be circumcised and instructed to keep the Law of Moses. The apostles and elders met to look into the matter.

Gospel

John 15:1-8
I am the vine, you are the branchesJesus said to his disciples:‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me is like a branch that has been thrown away – he withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire, and they are burnt.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask what you will and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’


What can we learn from the readings of today? For me I see that you are only a great leader if you actually have people who will follow your lead. No one can lay claim to leadership otherwise. And so a leader must belong to a community. Not one looking from the outside of one, but of being One with the community. Both St Paul and St Barnabas exemplifies what this means that is to be in full communion, one Body In Christ. The same peace, love and encouragement they received from Christ Jesus Himself was shared with their fellow disciples. The message was clear for them as it is for all of us, Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. For Jesus is with us at every step, He is the Way, the Truth, and the life.So sisters and brothers even if we should be brought down to the ground by those with malicious intent. Let us pick ourselves up as we move forward with the peace of Jesus in our hearts. To love and serve the Lord by our lives. Sharing the good news of our Risen Lord with everyone. Amen

First reading

Acts 14:19-28 ·
They gave an account of how God had opened the door of faith to the pagansSome Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and turned the people against the apostles. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the town, thinking he was dead. The disciples came crowding round him but, as they did so, he stood up and went back to the town. The next day he and Barnabas went off to Derbe.
Having preached the Good News in that town and made a considerable number of disciples, they went back through Lystra and Iconium to Antioch. They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith. ‘We all have to experience many hardships’ they said ‘before we enter the kingdom of God.’ In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.
They passed through Pisidia and reached Pamphylia. Then after proclaiming the word at Perga they went down to Attalia and from there sailed for Antioch, where they had originally been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed.
On their arrival they assembled the church and gave an account of all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the pagans. They stayed there with the disciples for some time.

Gospel

John 14:27-31
A peace the world cannot give is my gift to youJesus said to his disciples:‘Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.
If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
I have told you this now before it happens,
so that when it does happen you may believe.
I shall not talk with you any longer,
because the prince of this world is on his way.
He has no power over me, but the world must be brought to know that I love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father told me.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: May 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: , , ,

There is nothing wrong in seeking to be healed whether by attending a healing service, praying hard for it or seeking medical help even if it means going from one doctor to the next. Afterall we want to be made whole again and perhaps more importantly to be liberated from that which weighs us down heavily.Question is do we seek healing from our Lord as a last resort? Where was our faith and trust in Him before? Or is it a test? To know if He is real and truly loves us? Is the healing I seek solely for my well being or is it to glorify the Lord my God more fully by my love for others? What does it mean when St Paul saw that the man had faith to be cured? Could I have such faith that others can see just by looking upon my face? Perhaps just by looking at me they can see that I live in the joy of the Risen Lord! I trust fully in Him, that whether I am healed or not makes no difference; for I will continue praising the Lord my God and loving Him with all my heart and seek to always glorify Him by my life. Amen

First reading

Acts 14:5-18
We have come with good news to turn you to the living GodEventually with the connivance of the authorities a move was made by pagans as well as Jews to make attacks on the apostles and to stone them. When the apostles came to hear of this, they went off for safety to Lycaonia where, in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the surrounding country, they preached the Good News.
A man sat there who had never walked in his life, because his feet were crippled from birth; and as he listened to Paul preaching, he managed to catch his eye. Seeing that the man had the faith to be cured, Paul said in a loud voice, ‘Get to your feet – stand up’, and the cripple jumped up and began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done they shouted in the language of Lycaonia, ‘These people are gods who have come down to us disguised as men.’ They addressed Barnabas as Zeus, and since Paul was the principal speaker they called him Hermes. The priests of Zeus-outside-the-Gate, proposing that all the people should offer sacrifice with them, brought garlanded oxen to the gates. When the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening they tore their clothes, and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘Friends, what do you think you are doing? We are only human beings like you. We have come with good news to make you turn from these empty idols to the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all that these hold. In the past he allowed each nation to go its own way; but even then he did not leave you without evidence of himself in the good things he does for you: he sends you rain from heaven, he makes your crops grow when they should, he gives you food and makes you happy.’ Even this speech, however, was scarcely enough to stop the crowd offering them sacrifice.

Gospel

John 14:21-26
The Advocate, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everythingJesus said to his disciples:‘Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me;
and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.’Judas – this was not Judas Iscariot – said to him, ‘Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ Jesus replied:‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.
Those who do not love me do not keep my words.
And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me.
I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.’

Happy mother’s day

Posted: May 10, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Memory Book

Dearest Blessed Mother of Christ, our Beloved mother, we are grateful for your unending love and intercession for us. We your children love you with all our hearts… Happy Mothers day!May the loving grace of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, be upon all mothers this day and everyday . Amen


The Word of God is alive and active. The Word of God gives life and life to the full. The Word of God is Jesus and through Him we have eternal life. Why on earth then would people reject the Word of God?Let us ponder a little bit on the whys? Fundamentally I suppose we could say it is a result of free will. The same way we have free will to accept the word of God, we also have the free will to reject it. Some might say the word of God is of human construct till our course one day they encounter the Risen Lord themselves. Just like St Paul himself did on the road to Damascus. Others perhaps choose the path of least resistance, that is what they are confortable with; which is pretty much in line with the rest of the world. For the demands of living the Christian life seems all too altruistic, never mind the tomfoolery of it all in choosing narrow paths and carrying of crosses!We however have a strong faith in our Risen Lord because we live in the joy of His presence in our lives. We have seen the Lord! And so we have seen the Heavenly Father also. Why then should we fear rejection for speaking the truth and sharing it with others.
Let us be bold in the Spirit of truth as we share Jesus with all who will listen. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:44-52 ·
Since you have rejected the word of God, we must turn to the pagansThe next sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of God. When they saw the crowds, the Jews, prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said. Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly. ‘We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans. For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said:I have made you a light for the nations,
so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.’It made the pagans very happy to hear this and they thanked the Lord for his message; all who were destined for eternal life became believers. Thus the word of the Lord spread through the whole countryside.
But the Jews worked upon some of the devout women of the upper classes and the leading men of the city and persuaded them to turn against Paul and Barnabas and expel them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in defiance and went off to Iconium; but the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Gospel

John 14:7-14
To have seen me is to have seen the fatherJesus said to his disciples:‘If you know me, you know my Father too.
From this moment you know him and have seen him.’Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’
‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him, ‘and you still do not know me?‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father,
so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.
You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.
I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works,
because I am going to the Father.
Whatever you ask for in my name I will do,
so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask for anything in my name, I will do it.’


Jesus our Risen Lord is the way, the truth and life to the full. And others should see this truth in us, by the way we live our lives full of joy and in His love. We do not then need to go out and proselytize. For the beauty and truth of God’s endearing love for us is attractive enough to captivate hearts.We daughters and sons of the living God have already been raised to new life through Jesus Christ by our baptism. And so we already have hope for life eternal with God our Heavenly Father when we pass from this world. Shall we not share this joy of the Risen Lord we possess within of hearts with others. So that they too will not let their hearts be troubled for they will trust in our Lord as we do, now and forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:26-33 ·
God has fulfilled his promise by raising Jesus from the deadPaul stood up in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘My brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and all you who fear God, this message of salvation is meant for you. What the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did, though they did not realise it, was in fact to fulfil the prophecies read on every sabbath. Though they found nothing to justify his death, they condemned him and asked Pilate to have him executed. When they had carried out everything that scripture foretells about him they took him down from the tree and buried him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had accompanied him from Galilee to Jerusalem: and it is these same companions of his who are now his witnesses before our people.
‘We have come here to tell you the Good News. It was to our ancestors that God made the promise but it is to us, their children, that he has fulfilled it, by raising Jesus from the dead. As scripture says in the second psalm: You are my son: today I have become your father.’

Gospel

John 14:1-6
I am the Way, the Truth and the LifeJesus said to his disciples:‘Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God still, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you.
I am going now to prepare a place for you,
and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too.
You know the way to the place where I am going.’Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus said:‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’


Ah if only I had the wisdom, confidence and eloquence of St Paul to stand before the crowd, to give them hope in the good news of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To share God our Father’s unending love throughout our salvation history.To be a priest after Jesus’s heart to offer sacrifices and to reconcile everyone to God our Heavenly Father. And it does not matter whether we belong to the ministerial priesthood or the common priesthood. Our role is in servitude not in the dignity of titles. It is about getting down on our knees to love and to serve.While I am not quite there yet, it is about staying on track, remaining steadfast on the journey. Afterall the race to the end is a marathon not a sprint. So pray for me as I will pray for you so that together we will one day be reunited in Heaven. Amen

First reading

Acts 13:13-25
God has raised up one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as SaviourPaul and his friends went by sea from Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia where John left them to go back to Jerusalem. The others carried on from Perga till they reached Antioch in Pisidia. Here they went to synagogue on the sabbath and took their seats. After the lessons from the Law and the Prophets had been read, the presidents of the synagogue sent them a message: ‘Brothers, if you would like to address some words of encouragement to the congregation, do so.’ Paul stood up, held up a hand for silence and began to speak:
‘Men of Israel, and fearers of God, listen! The God of our nation Israel chose our ancestors, and made our people great when they were living as foreigners in Egypt; then by divine power he led them out, and for about forty years took care of them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in Canaan, he put them in possession of their land for about four hundred and fifty years. After this he gave them judges, down to the prophet Samuel. Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their king, of whom he approved in these words, “I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose.” To keep his promise, God has raised up for Israel one of David’s descendants, Jesus, as Saviour, whose coming was heralded by John when he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the whole people of Israel. Before John ended his career he said, “I am not the one you imagine me to be; that one is coming after me and I am not fit to undo his sandal.”’

Gospel

John 13:16-20
Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes meAfter he had washed the feet of his disciples, Jesus said to them:‘I tell you most solemnly,
no servant is greater than his master,
no messenger is greater than the man who sent him.‘Now that you know this, happiness will be yours if you behave accordingly. I am not speaking about all of you: I know the ones I have chosen; but what scripture says must be fulfilled: Someone who shares my table rebels against me.‘I tell you this now, before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe that I am He. I tell you most solemnly, whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’


Am I obedient to the Holy Spirit? Who has set me apart to share God’s love with family, my friends, colleagues, even the strangers I meet each day. How can I if I do not recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit? How then can I claim to know Jesus? For Jesus, God my Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit are one.Therefore if I hear my Lord’s voice then I will most certainly hear the soft promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is imperative that each morning I wake with a disciple’s heart to listen to His voice so that I may know my Lord’s Will for me through His Word, prayer and being still in His presence. Then surely my day will be grace filled as I live fully in His love and sharing it with all. It will not matter what challenges or difficulties lie ahead for the Holy Spirit is with me through it all.Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning its now and ever shall be world without end. Amen

First reading

Acts 12:24-13:5 ·
‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart’The word of God continued to spread and to gain followers. Barnabas and Saul completed their task and came back from Jerusalem, bringing John Mark with them.
In the church at Antioch the following were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. One day while they were offering worship to the Lord and keeping a fast, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I want Barnabas and Saul set apart for the work to which I have called them.’ So it was that after fasting and prayer they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
So these two, sent on their mission by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus. They landed at Salamis and proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; John acted as their assistant.

Gospel

John 12:44-50
I, the light, have come into the worldJesus declared publicly:‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me
but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me.
I, the light, have come into the world, so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark any more.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world.
He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.
For what I have spoken does not come from myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent me, and I know that his commands mean eternal life.
And therefore what the Father has told me
is what I speak.’


Why must we share the good news of the Risen Lord with others? Well simply apart from it being commanded by Jesus our Lord to go make disciples of all nations; if our Lord Jesus has touched Your heart as He has mine and filled it with His love, peace and joy. Then it is not only our duty but because His love had transformed us in such a wonderful way that we want to share it with the rest of the world. This conviction is what filled the hearts of the early disciples that they preached the good news boldly. And they did not do so alone for it is written that the Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.How truly wonderful is the news of God’s love for us. That through our faith and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ we have hope of eternal life with Him and God our Father; who wills that not a single one of us is lost. Tender, loving and merciful is God our Father towards us all His children. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:19-26 ·
They started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Lord JesusThose who had escaped during the persecution that happened because of Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but they usually proclaimed the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, who came from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch where they started preaching to the Greeks, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. The Lord helped them, and a great number believed and were converted to the Lord.
The church in Jerusalem heard about this and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. There he could see for himself that God had given grace, and this pleased him, and he urged them all to remain faithful to the Lord with heartfelt devotion; for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and with faith. And a large number of people were won over to the Lord.
Barnabas then left for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. As things turned out they were to live together in that church a whole year, instructing a large number of people. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians.’

Gospel

John 10:22-30
The Father and I are oneIt was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ Jesus replied:‘I have told you, but you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name are my witness; but you do not believe, because you are no sheep of mine.
The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.
I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me.
The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.’


Does our Lord love the Jews more than us Christians? Does He love Christians more than Muslims, Hindus, or even Atheists? If we start comparing or even entertain such notions then in truth we do not know Jesus nor will we ever draw closer in knowing God our Father. For the Lord our God has no favourites and Jesus had said it clearly, “And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd.”Do we ourselves even hear the voice of our beloved Shepherd speaking to us as He does so daily? If we do not, then how will we ever hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit to be instruments of God’s grace for the unbelievers of the downcasts?Jesus laid down His life for love of us; God’s children. All of us are God’s children. By our baptism our hearts are opened to the awareness that we have entered into eternal sonship and daughterhood of God our Heavenly Father. So then let us lead the rest of God’s children into the same gate by which we have entered; through our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 11:1-18
God can grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to lifeThe apostles and the brothers in Judaea heard that the pagans too had accepted the word of God, and when Peter came up to Jerusalem the Jews criticised him and said, ‘So you have been visiting the uncircumcised and eating with them, have you?’ Peter in reply gave them the details point by point: ‘One day, when I was in the town of Jaffa,’ he began ‘I fell into a trance as I was praying and had a vision of something like a big sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners. This sheet reached the ground quite close to me. I watched it intently and saw all sorts of animals and wild beasts – everything possible that could walk, crawl or fly. Then I heard a voice that said to me, “Now, Peter; kill and eat!” But I answered: Certainly not, Lord; nothing profane or unclean has ever crossed my lips. And a second time the voice spoke from heaven, “What God has made clean, you have no right to call profane.” This was repeated three times, before the whole of it was drawn up to heaven again.
‘Just at that moment, three men stopped outside the house where we were staying; they had been sent from Caesarea to fetch me, and the Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going back with them. The six brothers here came with me as well, and we entered the man’s house. He told us he had seen an angel standing in his house who said, “Send to Jaffa and fetch Simon known as Peter; he has a message for you that will save you and your entire household.”
‘I had scarcely begun to speak when the Holy Spirit came down on them in the same way as it came on us at the beginning, and I remembered that the Lord had said, “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I realised then that God was giving them the identical thing he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ; and who was I to stand in God’s way?’
This account satisfied them, and they gave glory to God. ‘God’ they said ‘can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life.’

Gospel

John 10:11-18
The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheepJesus said:‘I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.‘I am the good shepherd;
I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have
that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd.‘The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me;
I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’


What Are We To Do?: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Easter

Readings:
Acts 2:14, 36–41
Psalm 23:1–6
1 Peter 2:20–25
John 10:1–10

Easter’s empty tomb is a call to conversion.
By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today’s First Reading.

He is the “Lord,” the divine Son that David foresaw at God’s right hand (see Psalm 3; 110:1; 132:10–11; and Acts 2:34). And He is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (see Ezekiel 34:11–14, 23; 37:24).

As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus is that Good Shepherd, sent to a people who were like sheep without a shepherd (see Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16–17). He calls not only to the children of Israel, but to all those far off from Him—to whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.

The call of the Good Shepherd leads to the restful waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of Confirmation, and to the table and overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Again on this Sunday in Easter, we hear His voice calling us His own. He should awaken in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they cried.
We have been baptized. But each of us goes astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We still need daily to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from this corrupt generation.
We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.

Jesus has gone ahead, driven us through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach His empty tomb—the verdant pastures of life abundant.


Many of us are still living for ourselves and our loved ones. Very few if any are living as we are called to, that is a life of prayer and in the Spirit through a deep personal connection with our Lord Jesus Christ. Thereafter enlivened we would not delay in our mission to proclaim the Good News of our risen Lord. Hence we are not using the many gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us and that is why we are witnessing very few signs and wonders of God’s glory in our time.

It is truly the Spirit that gives live for it was sent by the source of life itself, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us therefore live in the Spirit and reclaim the gifts by which we will bring the light of Christ to those who live in darkness in these trying times.O Holy Spirit fall upon me and enkindle in my heart a Holy zeal for greater discipleship in my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:31-42 ·
The churches grew and were filled with the consolation of the Holy SpiritThe churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were now left in peace, building themselves up, living in the fear of the Lord, and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints living down in Lydda. There he found a man called Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ cures you: get up and fold up your sleeping mat.’ Aeneas got up immediately; everybody who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they were all converted to the Lord.
At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha, or Dorcas in Greek, who never tired of doing good or giving in charity. But the time came when she got ill and died, and they washed her and laid her out in a room upstairs. Lydda is not far from Jaffa, so when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two men with an urgent message for him, ‘Come and visit us as soon as possible.’
Peter went back with them straightaway, and on his arrival they took him to the upstairs room, where all the widows stood round him in tears, showing him tunics and other clothes Dorcas had made when she was with them. Peter sent them all out of the room and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up.’ She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive. The whole of Jaffa heard about it and many believed in the Lord.

Gospel

John 6:60-69
Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of GodAfter hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life.‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’


Stop nagging, stop complaining, stop finding fault, stop being self righteous! Simply choose to love and be merciful. Be life giving like our risen Lord and saviour Jesus Christ instead of ‘life taking’ as Saul before His conversion experience in the presence of Jesus. For our Lord did say to us, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” And it is for that very reason he asked Saul why was he persecuting Him? So then shall we go on persecuting our family members, friends, colleagues even strangers? Or do we offer instead, mercy and love in our Lord Jesus Christ?In this trying times, we need to connect more fully with Jesus through His Word and deeper prayer; as we wait the Blessed hope of receiving Him again most fully in Holy Eucharist. Nonetheless the full extent of His grace will be conferred upon us when we cry out to Him our heart’s desires to be in full communion with Him.Jesus my Lord, let me be an instrument of Your grace and love. Amen

First reading

Acts 9:1-20 ·
This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagansSaul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.
Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.
A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.
He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’

Gospel

John 6:52-59
My flesh is real food and my blood is real drinkThe Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:‘I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.


We often tell ourselves that we don’t know enough of our faith neither are we eloquent enough to evangelise. Or that not all of us are equipped to do so and so it is far better for the rest of us to simply evangelise through actions of love for others. Not so for all of us were baptised in water and in the Spirit. Therefore all of us have received gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are Christians by our faith and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Whether we want to be acknowledged as such, we are all disciples of our Lord who commanded that we go make disciples of all nations.

What is it then do we fear? That those not in the faith will hear an incredulous story of our faith and laugh at us for our beliefs? Or that they will suddenly turn nasty and hurt us? If we have such fear in our hearts then the real question is how deep is our own faith and relationship we have in Jesus our redeemer, our Risen Lord? For while our faith may come across as an incredulous story it is nonetheless the truth and this very truth sets us free. The source of life itself had come to give us life and to the full! Therefore all of us have nothing to lose for through Jesus our Lord and saviour we will gain eternal life with God our Father.

Jesus bread of life, give me Your daily bread and I shall live forever in Your love. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:26-40
Philip baptizes a eunuch

The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Be ready to set out at noon along the road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.’ So he set off on his journey. Now it happened that an Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem; he was a eunuch and an officer at the court of the kandake, or queen, of Ethiopia, and was in fact her chief treasurer. He was now on his way home; and as he sat in his chariot he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and meet that chariot.’ When Philip ran up, he heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ ‘How can I’ he replied ‘unless I have someone to guide me?’ So he invited Philip to get in and sit by his side. Now the passage of scripture he was reading was this:

Like a sheep that is led to the slaughter-house,
like a lamb that is dumb in front of its shearers,
like these he never opens his mouth.
He has been humiliated and has no one to defend him.
Who will ever talk about his descendants,
since his life on earth has been cut short!

The eunuch turned to Philip and said, ‘Tell me, is the prophet referring to himself or someone else?’ Starting, therefore, with this text of scripture Philip proceeded to explain the Good News of Jesus to him.
Further along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘Look, there is some water here; is there anything to stop me being baptised?’ He ordered the chariot to stop, then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water and Philip baptised him. But after they had come up out of the water again Philip was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Philip found that he had reached Azotus and continued his journey proclaiming the Good News in every town as far as Caesarea.

Gospel

John 6:44-51
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it,
is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father,
except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life.

‘I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert
and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’


It is far easier to throw in the towel and give up when times are hard and challenging. Why bother arranging for prayer meetings when most folks are not interested to join in? When family members are reluctant to sit down together to participate in an online mass? What then would you rather be doing?In today’s first reading we hear how hard the early diciples had it. They were being hunted down and persecuted but still that did not deter them from going place to place preaching the Good News! How then can we likewise have that burning fire they had within them that could not be extinguished?Well we can see clearly through scripture that they lived their lives in the light of our Lord’s resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit. They prayed the Word and dwelt in His presence. They held on to the promise that not one of them will be lost, and will rise to eternal life with Jesus on the last day. Alleluia!Lord Jesus I trust in You. Keep the fire of Your love burning in my heart. Amen

First reading

Acts 8:1-8
They went from place to place, preaching the Good NewsThat day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
There were some devout people, however, who buried Stephen and made great mourning for him.
Saul then worked for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.
Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

Gospel

John 6:35-40
It is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son should have eternal lifeJesus said to the crowd:‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry;
he who believes in me will never thirst.
But, as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away; because I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but to do the will of the one who sent me.
Now the will of him who sent me is that I should lose nothing of all that he has given to me, and that I should raise it up on the last day.
Yes, it is my Father’s will that whoever sees the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and that I shall raise him up on the last day.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 28, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

Lord Jesus I have so missed receiving You fully present, body, blood, soul and divinity in Holy Eucharist. But I take comfort in Your promise when you said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.”So Lord Jesus I stand now before Your Holy presence and profess my belief in You. Fill me Lord with Your grace and Your love. Forgive me my wrongdoings as I forgive everyone their wrongdoings against me. Do not hold our sins against us Lord, heal and purify us; so that we may be found worthy and welcomed into our Heavenly inheritance that awaits us.All you Holy Angels and Saints pray for us. Amen

First reading

Acts 7:51-8:1 ·
‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes: ‘You stubborn people, with your pagan hearts and pagan ears. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. Can you name a single prophet your ancestors never persecuted? In the past they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, and now you have become his betrayers, his murderers. You who had the Law brought to you by angels are the very ones who have not kept it.’
They were infuriated when they heard this, and ground their teeth at him.
But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. ‘I can see heaven thrown open’ he said ‘and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ At this all the members of the council shouted out and stopped their ears with their hands; then they all rushed at him, sent him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses put down their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen said in invocation, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and said aloud, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’; and with these words he fell asleep. Saul entirely approved of the killing.

Gospel

John 6:30-35
It is my Father who gives you the bread from heavenThe people said to Jesus, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered:‘I am the bread of life.
He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’


Are you saying that it is difficult, especially this Easter with all that is going on in the world to experience the joy of the risen Lord? In other words to have Easter joy in your heart? Well then the crux of the matter is that you are still searching for Jesus in the tomb and that tomb may very well be your own. The one you’re very comfortable in, hiding away from the reality and hardship of life. The one that prevents us from answering the call to step up and remain steadfast disciples of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Your complaining, moaning and groaning only means one thing, you do not truly believe in the One, God our Father sent to save us from sin and grant us eternal life with Him.For if we were all true belivers in our Risen Lord and saviour Jesus Christ then His face will shine upon us. People will see Him in us even before we open our mouths to speak! And those gathered around us will perk their ears up eager to hear our testimony of the love of Jesus; for the Holy Spirit will be guiding our every thought, word and deed.So my dear sisters and brothers as we continue our journey in the third week of Easter, let us be sure to leave the tomb far behind us, as we rise up to new life in Jesus our Lord. Alleluia our Lord is Risen! Amen

First reading

Acts 6:8-15 ·
They could not get the better of Stephen because the Spirit prompted what he saidStephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.

Gospel

John 6:22-29
Do not work for food that cannot last, but for food that endures to eternal lifeAfter Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’

A Personal Reflection

Posted: April 26, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Personal Thoughts & Reflections

This morning I woke up at about four plus to go for a jog. As I was jogging and listening to praise and worship songs, the thought of St John and St Peter came to mind. Jn 20:3-4 it says in scripture that after hearing from Mary of Magdala that the body of Jesus was missing from the tomb they ran together to see for themselves. It occurred to me that the tomb where Jesus had been laid could not have been within walking distance. So they must have ran quite a fair bit, easily a few kilometers. I pictured myself as St Peter tryimg to keep up with the much younger St John with crazy thoughts running through my mind. Did the Jewish authorities take my Lord? Did they have the audacity to desecrate his body? Was it grave robbers? What did they expect to steal? Definitely not his body? Or did they? And planned to sell it to the Jewish authorities for whatever their intentions?

When I finally arrived and saw John waiting for me to enter first I felt His love and respect for me. No wonder our Lord showed great affection for him. He may be young but was not only loving and matured, he possessed wisdom way beyond his years. In fact it was through him that I began to understand more clearly that it was foretold that our Lord would rise from the dead!

How many times in this day and age have I frantically ran in search of my Lord? Desperate to find evidence of his presence once again in my life. When the truth is that He never left my side. Had I remained steadfast, focused on Him, His Word and His Will for me then I would always bask in His love and friendship. Nothing would be able to rob on blind me from seeing Him and living in the joy of His Resurrection.

Then early this afternoon a dear brother in Christ sent me this WhatsApp message 🥰

————————–

bit late – but isnt this a beautiful reflection and sharing ?

A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
2nd Sunday of Easter
Bishop Robert BARRON

How beautifully Saint John remembers the details of Easter Sunday morning. He recalls that the linen which had covered the head of the Lord was rolled up in a separate place from the other burial cloths. He recollects that he himself came to faith the minute he saw the empty tomb. And he remembers the curious detail that though both he and Peter were running to the tomb, he, John got there first. We might conclude, reasonably enough, that this disparity was due t the fact that John was the younger man.

But the Fathers of the Church – some of the most perceptive biblical commentators in the great tradition – saw something mystical in John’s earlier arrival. The Beloved Disciple stands, they taught, for the contemplative, prayerful, deeply intuitive dimension of the Church; and Peter, the bearer of the keys, stands for the Church in its formal, official capacity. The mystics and poets always seem to get to the truth first; they sprint ahead, prompted by their fiery hearts. The teachers and officers of the Church go more slowly, since their job is to verify, to sort through, to decide.

How wonderful, the Fathers said, the young John the mystic, though he got to the tomb first, waited patiently for Peter – and indeed allowed Peter to enter the sepulchre first. This is mysticism waiting, with reverence, for office to verify what mysticism has intuited. When the Johannine and Petrine energies are operative in a mutually respectful way, the Church flourishes.
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Praise the Lord Alleluia!


Emmaus and Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Easter

Readings:
Acts 2:1422–28
Psalm 16:1–257–11
1 Peter 1:17–21
Luke 24:13–35
 
We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today’s Gospel. Downcast and confused, they’re making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.

They know what they’ve seen—a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for—that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don’t know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.
They can’t even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.

Note that Jesus doesn’t disclose His identity until they they describe how they found His tomb empty but “Him they did not see.” That’s how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.
How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s death according to the Father’s “set plan”—foreknown before the foundation of the world.

Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today’s Psalm—whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.

After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table takes bread, blesses it, brakes it, and gives it to the disciples—exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14–20).
In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals Himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.

The disciples beg him, “Stay with us.” So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist—as at Emmaus—we know Him in the breaking of the bread.


“Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while” truer words cannot be uttered for our time. And it should not lead us to despair on the contrary we should be geared up and prepared for battle! Our weapons, love, mercy and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.So sisters and brothers are you using the gifts of the Holy Spirit lavished upon you? Do you even know what they are? Have you prayed and discerned? Another truth is simply this, if you don’t use it, you will lose it! Here’s another one you can take and bank on, if all of us use the gifts of the Holy Spirit as humble servants to one another today; and the days that follow, the whole world will be transformed. Everyone will be fully alive in our Risen Lord! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and simply start making little ripples in the pool of His love. AmenSt. Mark pray for us…

First reading

1 Peter 5:5-14 ·
My son, Mark, sends you greetingsAll wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other, because God refuses the proud and will always favour the humble. Bow down, then, before the power of God now, and he will raise you up on the appointed day; unload all your worries on to him, since he is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things. You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
I write these few words to you through Silvanus, who is a brother I know I can trust, to encourage you never to let go this true grace of God to which I bear witness.
Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark.
Greet one another with a kiss of love.

Gospel

Mark 16:15-20
Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good NewsJesus showed himself to the Eleven and said to them:
‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation. He who believes and is baptised will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. These are the signs that will be associated with believers: in my name they will cast out devils; they will have the gift of tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; they will lay their hands on the sick, who will recover.’
And so the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven: there at the right hand of God he took his place, while they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it.


When you’re in love with someone you can’t help yourself from thinking about him/her . Talking about them and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible. You are even quick to defend their honour in their absence. So then how in love are you with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ? That you cannot bear to go a single day without first listening to His Word, then later in the day talking about Him; and sharing His love with others? That you would mind suffering humiliation for the sake of His name with joy in your heart? The problem with many of us is that we say that we love Jesus but in our heart of hearts, we are not deeply in love with Him such that we are willing to suffer for His namesake or to love others the way we are called to do.Perhaps one of the main reasons is that we do not dwell enough on His great love for us. He loved us first and is very much in love with us individually; He has no favourites! He knew all about us even before we were born and already His heart was set on loving and caring for us. How will we ever know this, if we will not spend time in His presence. Dwelling on His Word and sitting with Him in prayer?Today Jesus knows we are hungry for the bread of heaven, do you think that in His great love for us He will not feed us? Perhaps in a new profound way? For He had already promised us when He said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27Jesus I trust in You, Your love endures forever. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:34-42 ·
They were glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the nameOne member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee called Gamaliel, who was a doctor of the Law and respected by the whole people, stood up and asked to have the apostles taken outside for a time. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin, ‘Men of Israel, be careful how you deal with these people. There was Theudas who became notorious not so long ago. He claimed to be someone important, and he even collected about four hundred followers; but when he was killed, all his followers scattered and that was the end of them. And then there was Judas the Galilean, at the time of the census, who attracted crowds of supporters; but he got killed too, and all his followers dispersed. What I suggest, therefore, is that you leave these men alone and let them go. If this enterprise, this movement of theirs, is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourselves fighting against God.’
His advice was accepted; and they had the apostles called in, gave orders for them to be flogged, warned them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. And so they left the presence of the Sanhedrin glad to have had the honour of suffering humiliation for the sake of the name.
They preached every day both in the Temple and in private houses, and their proclamation of the Good News of Christ Jesus was never interrupted.

Gospel

John 6:1-15
The feeding of the five thousandJesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.


Obedience to God comes before obedience to men. Yes there are indeed a few who have chosen to be obedient to their parents, spouse, inner circle of friends, employers, etc. by surrendering their religious freedom to them. Generally to keep the peace and the camaraderie among them. But more often than not, it is about obedience to one’s own will rather than God’s will. Will it surprise you to learn that many have decided to take a religious break so to speak? Using covid 19 as an excuse not to participate in online masses or have simply stopped contributing towards the maintenance and well being of the parishes they belong to? What about poor and the desolate in these times of extreme measures put in place to stop the spread. Does anyone think about them? What happens to them? Are they to die? And not at all due to the pandemic?We must choose to focus on our Risen Lord and be outward looking towards true discipleship in Him! Let us pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts and minds to those in dire need of our help. So that we can put the love we have of Christ Jesus in our hearts into action for them. Let us bring glory to our almighty ever living God and Bless His Holy name through the way we live our lives in Him. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:27-33 ·
We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy SpiritWhen the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Gospel

John 3:31-36
The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to himJohn the Baptist said to his disciples:‘He who comes from above is above all others; he who is born of the earth is earthly himself and speaks in an earthly way.
He who comes from heaven bears witness to the things he has seen and heard, even if his testimony is not accepted; though all who do accept his testimony are attesting the truthfulness of God, since he whom God has sent speaks God’s own words:
God gives him the Spirit without reserve.
The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life: the anger of God stays on him.’


Does it not feel these days that we are prisoners in our own homes? Yet we can rest in the assurance that this too shall pass. Instead of moaning and groaning, if we listen attentively to the of Lord; He has already freed our minds to find new and innovative ways to share the Gospel truth of His love with others still trapped without hope in their lives.To lead them to the awareness that the Risen Lord had died for love of all of us, to free us from all sin so that we might rise to new life with Him. Through Jesus we are saved and through Him we have peace, joy and love in our hearts. This simple truth cannot be difficult for you or me to share? In fact very few Christians, if they are true Christians to begin with, cannot quote John 3:16 or even know it by hard. It is time however to come out of the prison of our comfort zones and to expound on this Scripture text so that all who hear us share, can come to a better understanding of God’s love for them and lead them to fall in love with Jesus as we have.Praise be to our Risen Lord Jesus Christ alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Amen

First reading

Acts 5:17-26 ·
The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the peopleThe high priest intervened with all his supporters from the party of the Sadducees. Prompted by jealousy, they arrested the apostles and had them put in the common gaol.
But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison gates and said as he led them out, ‘Go and stand in the Temple, and tell the people all about this new Life.’ They did as they were told; they went into the Temple at dawn and began to preach.
When the high priest arrived, he and his supporters convened the Sanhedrin – this was the full Senate of Israel – and sent to the gaol for them to be brought. But when the officials arrived at the prison they found they were not inside, so they went back and reported, ‘We found the gaol securely locked and the warders on duty at the gates, but when we unlocked the door we found no one inside.’ When the captain of the Temple and the chief priests heard this news they wondered what this could mean. Then a man arrived with fresh news. ‘At this very moment’ he said, ‘the men you imprisoned are in the Temple. They are standing there preaching to the people.’ The captain went with his men and fetched them. They were afraid to use force in case the people stoned them.

Gospel

John 3:16-21
God sent his Son into the world so that through him the world might be savedJesus said to Nicodemus:‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned; but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already, because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
hates the light and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed; but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’


This account in the acts of the Apostles is a model for us who belong to communitues in the Lord. But it is far from easy to follow! Because everyone must be united with one heart with Jesus at its centre.For many years in the various communites I belonged to we invited many to join us in the breaking of the word and bringing a small dish to share in fellowship. Only a handful would show up and few remain steadfast in coming together month, after month, year after year. But those who had remain steadfast have grown very much in their faith and love for one another. For the rest perhaps they thought there will always be a next time and again the time after next. Well today it is no longer possible to gather under one roof, even if wanted to with the current situation. And so we look to be ways in connecting with one another in the presence of our Lord holding on to the memories of the loving embrace we once shared with one another.Those of us who have decided to stay connected to one another through our Lord Jesus Christ making full use of the technology of today; can attest that the Holy Spirit blows ever strongly in our midst. And together with Mary his mother, our Lord is very much present in our meetings be it via zoom, cisco webex, messenger, conference call etc.
Glory and Praise to our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:32-37 ·
The whole group of believers was united, heart and soulThe whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common.
The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all given great respect.
None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from them, to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any members who might be in need.
There was a Levite of Cypriot origin called Joseph whom the apostles surnamed Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He owned a piece of land and he sold it and brought the money, and presented it to the apostles.

Gospel

John 3:7-15
No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heavenJesus said to Nicodemus:‘Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above. The wind blows wherever it pleases; you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.‘I tell you most solemnly, we speak only about what we know and witness only to what we have seen and yet you people reject our evidence.
If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world, how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?
No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven; and the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’


What a truly timely reminder by our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ; that we have already in fact been given a very precious gift that was breathed upon us at our baptism. The very same gift He breathed upon His Apostles when He walked into their presence behind closed doors. The Holy Spirit! The power of the Holy Spirit is upon us, the very same Spirit that rocked the house where the disciples prayed to the Lord our God. And so we have been born above and can see the kingdom of God. Honour praise and glory be to God!Therefore it is only right that we lead others to the same joy and peace in the Risen Lord to be found only in Him. Of whom we have received much grace and tender love. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we too can proclaim the word of God boldly. Alleluia!Lord Jesus we lift up to you this day all catchumens eagerly waiting the rite of Baptism. Through Your endearing grace may they receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:23-31 ·
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldlyAs soon as Peter and John were released they went to the community and told them everything the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they lifted up their voice to God all together. ‘Master,’ they prayed ‘it is you who made heaven and earth and sea, and everything in them; you it is who said through the Holy Spirit and speaking through our ancestor David, your servant:Why this arrogance among the nations,
these futile plots among the peoples?
Kings on earth setting out to war,
princes making an alliance,
against the Lord and against his Anointed.‘This is what has come true: in this very city Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel, against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, but only to bring about the very thing that you in your strength and your wisdom had predetermined should happen. And now, Lord, take note of their threats and help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness, by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked; they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly.

Gospel

John 3:1-8There was one of the Pharisees called Nicodemus, a leading Jew, who came to Jesus by night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who comes from God; for no one could perform the signs that you do unless God were with him.’ Jesus answered:‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born from above,
he cannot see the kingdom of God.’Nicodemus said, ‘How can a grown man be born? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied:‘I tell you most solemnly,
unless a man is born through water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God:
what is born of the flesh is flesh;
what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not be surprised when I say:
You must be born from above.
The wind blows wherever it pleases;
you hear its sound,
but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.
That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’


His Mercy Endures: Scott Hahn Reflects on Divine Mercy Sunday

Readings:
Acts 2:42–47
Psalm 118:2–413–1522–24
1 Peter 1:3–9
John 20:19–31
 
We are children of Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Through this wondrous sign of His great mercy, the Father of Jesus has given us new birth, as we hear in today’s Epistle.
Today’s First Reading sketches the “family life” of our first ancestors in the household of God (see 1 Peter 4:17). We see them doing what we still do—devoting themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, meeting daily to pray and celebrate “the breaking of the bread.”
The Apostles saw the Lord. He stood in their midst, showed them His hands and sides. They heard His blessing and received His commission—to extend the Father’s mercy to all peoples through the power and Spirit He conferred upon them.

We must walk by faith and not by sight, must believe and love what we have not seen (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet the invisible realities are made present for us through the devotions the Apostles handed on.

Notice the experience of the risen Lord in today’s Gospel is described in a way that evokes the Mass.

Both appearances take place on a Sunday. The Lord comes to be with His disciples. They rejoice, listen to His Word, receive the gift of His forgiveness and peace. He offers His wounded body to them in remembrance of His Passion. And they know and worship Him as their Lord and their God.

Thomas’ confession is a vow of faith in the new covenant. As promised long before, in the blood of Jesus we can now know the Lord as our God and be known as His people (see Hosea 2:20–25).

This confession is sung in the heavenly liturgy (see Revelation 4:11). And in every Mass on earth we renew our covenant and receive the blessings Jesus promised for those who have not seen but have believed.

In the Mass, God’s mercy endures forever, as we sing in today’s Psalm. This is the day the Lord has made—when the victory of Easter is again made wonderful in our eyes.


Have you woken up this morning bursting with Easter joy in your heart? If not then why not? What is preventing to you from experiencing the presence and love of our risen Lord Jesus Christ?Don’t look around, it is not the externals that is causing your sense of doom and gloom! All of us have a choice, Yes we do…. We can decide and choose to unite ourselves more profoundly with Christ Jesus our Lord by intensifying our prayer life. By listening attentively to Him through His Word and most of all putting our love for Him in action for others. Yes it can simply be calling or texting someone Jesus loves you. Or to lend a listening ear to someone and to comfort them. We can do so much more in the name of Jesus if we put our minds to it.Let us proclaim to the world that Jesus lives and He reigns our hearts. Amen

First reading

Acts 4:13-21 ·We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heardThe rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen; and they recognised them as associates of Jesus; but when they saw the man who had been cured standing by their side, they could find no answer. So they ordered them to stand outside while the Sanhedrin had a private discussion. ‘What are we going to do with these men?’ they asked. ‘It is obvious to everybody in Jerusalem that a miracle has been worked through them in public, and we cannot deny it. But to stop the whole thing spreading any further among the people, let us caution them never to speak to anyone in this name again.’ So they called them in and gave them a warning on no account to make statements or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John retorted, ‘You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.’ The court repeated the warnings and then released them; they could not think of any way to punish them, since all the people were giving glory to God for what had happened.

Gospel

Mark 16:9-15Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good NewsHaving risen in the morning on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom he had cast out seven devils. She then went to those who had been his companions, and who were mourning and in tears, and told them. But they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him. After this, he showed himself under another form to two of them as they were on their way into the country. These went back and told the others, who did not believe them either. Lastly, he showed himself to the Eleven themselves while they were at table. He reproached them for their incredulity and obstinacy, because they had refused to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.’


After forty days of our Lenten observances are we still lost in the desert? Are we still complaining and grumbling perhaps even blaming our leaders for the situation we are in? How different are we from the people in at the time of Moses? Have we decided instead to go back to our old routines? Our old way of lives?Come now Jesus sees our emptiness and He invites us to once again dine with Him. Let us go to Him and be filled with His peace and grace. Let us choose to live with Easter joy in our hearts as we embark with renewed vigour our mission to share the love of the Lord our God with all whom we meet. Let us boldly proclaim our Risen Lord Jesus is alive! Amen alleluia

First reading

Acts 4:1-12
The name of Jesus Christ is the only one by which we can be savedWhile Peter and John were talking to the people the priests came up to them, accompanied by the captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. They were extremely annoyed at their teaching the people the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead by proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. They arrested them, but as it was already late, they held them till the next day. But many of those who had listened to their message became believers, the total number of whom had now risen to something like five thousand.
The next day the rulers, elders and scribes had a meeting in Jerusalem with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, Jonathan, Alexander and all the members of the high-priestly families. They made the prisoners stand in the middle and began to interrogate them, ‘By what power, and by whose name have you men done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Gospel

John 21:1-14
Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fishJesus showed himself again to the disciples. It was by the Sea of Tiberias, and it happened like this: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee and two more of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ They replied, ‘We’ll come with you.’ They went out and got into the boat but caught nothing that night.
It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, ‘Have you caught anything, friends?’ And when they answered, ‘No’, he said, ‘Throw the net out to starboard and you’ll find something.’ So they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in. The disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.’ At these words ‘It is the Lord’, Simon Peter, who had practically nothing on, wrapped his cloak round him and jumped into the water. The other disciples came on in the boat, towing the net and the fish; they were only about a hundred yards from land.
As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore, full of big fish, one hundred and fifty-three of them; and in spite of there being so many the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples was bold enough to ask, ‘Who are you?’; they knew quite well it was the Lord. Jesus then stepped forward, took the bread and gave it to them, and the same with the fish. This was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead.


Peace be with you… How comforting it is to hear the voice of Jesus telling us not to fear as He calms the storms within us. And He would readily dine with us though not in the same physical way He did with His Apostles. For He had promised when He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev 3:20 And we know this to be true by our own encounter and relationship with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.This reality came to be by our very own conversion experience. When we came to Jesus as we were, repentant and contrite. He ministered to us; He healed, restored and set us free to live freely in His love. For that is why the Son of God came. He died to save us from our sins and He rose that we might rise with Him.And so sisters and brothers in Christ, in this wonderful days of the Easter Octave, let us be bold and share the joy of the Risen with all that we meet. Even with masks on during this unprecedented period of the pandemic, let everyone see the eyes of Christ through ours. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:11-26 ·
You killed the prince of life: God, however, raised him from the deadEveryone came running towards Peter and John in great excitement, to the Portico of Solomon, as it is called, where the man was still clinging to Peter and John. When Peter saw the people he addressed them, ‘Why are you so surprised at this? Why are you staring at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or holiness? You are Israelites, and it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our ancestors, who has glorified his servant Jesus, the same Jesus you handed over and then disowned in the presence of Pilate after Pilate had decided to release him. It was you who accused the Holy One, the Just One, you who demanded the reprieve of a murderer while you killed the prince of life. God, however, raised him from the dead, and to that fact we are the witnesses; and it is the name of Jesus which, through our faith in it, has brought back the strength of this man whom you see here and who is well known to you. It is faith in that name that has restored this man to health, as you can all see.
‘Now I know, brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing; this was the way God carried out what he had foretold, when he said through all his prophets that his Christ would suffer. Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, and so that the Lord may send the time of comfort. Then he will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets. Moses, for example, said: The Lord God will raise up a prophet like myself for you, from among your own brothers; you must listen to whatever he tells you. The man who does not listen to that prophet is to be cut off from the people. In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken, from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.
‘You are the heirs of the prophets, the heirs of the covenant God made with our ancestors when he told Abraham: in your offspring all the families of the earth will be blessed. It was for you in the first place that God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’

Gospel

Luke 24:35-48
It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the deadThe disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.
They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.
Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 15, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
Tags: ,

What is it that prevents us from recognising Jesus present in our lives? Are we mourning the death of someone? Are we in mourning for the better life we had before the pandemic situation? Are we upset that we are no longer able to receive Jesus physically present in Holy Eucharist? Have we turned inwardly feeling sorry for ourselves and the situation we are in?Would it be surprising at all to hear Jesus our Lord say to us, “You foolish men and women!” “So slow to believe the full message of the Word spoken and taught to you!” Afterall was our Lord not victorious over death? Did He not walk on water or through walls? Did He not calm the winds and the sea? He who lovingly gave us the sacraments are not bound by them and since He is the author of life itself He can grant us the grace of renewal and new life in Him; at anytime in any way it pleases Him to do so. And be rest assured that He indeed is pleased to do so for love of us. All we need do, is to open our hearts and minds to Him. Soon we will feel our hearts within us with His loving presence.We may not all be able to help others through the gift of money or certain unique talents required, but we all can offer the best gift we can ever hope to give and that is the gift of Jesus through our love put into action for them, body, mind and spirit. Amen

First reading

Acts 3:1-10 ·
I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus, walk!Once, when Peter and John were going up to the Temple for the prayers at the ninth hour, it happened that there was a man being carried past. He was a cripple from birth; and they used to put him down every day near the Temple entrance called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from the people going in. When this man saw Peter and John on their way into the Temple he begged from them. Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us.’ He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them, but Peter said, ‘I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!’ Peter then took him by the hand and helped him to stand up. Instantly his feet and ankles became firm, he jumped up, stood, and began to walk, and he went with them into the Temple, walking and jumping and praising God. Everyone could see him walking and praising God, and they recognised him as the man who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. They were all astonished and unable to explain what had happened to him.

Gospel

Luke 24:13-35
They recognised him at the breaking of breadTwo of the disciples of Jesus were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; but something prevented them from recognising him. He said to them, ‘What matters are you discussing as you walk along?’ They stopped short, their faces downcast.
Then one of them, called Cleopas, answered him, ‘You must be the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have been happening there these last few days.’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘All about Jesus of Nazareth’ they answered ‘who proved he was a great prophet by the things he said and did in the sight of God and of the whole people; and how our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and had him crucified. Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free. And this is not all: two whole days have gone by since it all happened; and some women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us they had seen a vision of angels who declared he was alive. Some of our friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had reported, but of him they saw nothing.’
Then he said to them, ‘You foolish men! So slow to believe the full message of the prophets! Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so enter into his glory?’ Then, starting with Moses and going through all the prophets, he explained to them the passages throughout the scriptures that were about himself.
When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’
They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised him at the breaking of bread.


Jesus calls us to holiness through a reminder of our baptism, in which we were inserted directly into His life, death and resurrection! Therefore let us repent of all our sins so as to be fully united with and in Him.There is absolutely no sin our Lord cannot forgive, so then there is nothing preventing you from turning back to His loving embrace which awaits You. For by the glory and power of our Risen Lord He will set you free. Free to love and to live in His love.We will no longer need to cling to Him. For He dwells directly in our hearts. Our mission is to share Him with others. So that they too can experience the joy of the Risen Lord dwelling within them. Amen

First reading

Acts 2:36-41 ·
You must repent and be baptized in the name of JesusOn the day of Pentecost, Peter spoke to the Jews: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Gospel

John 20:11-18
‘I have seen the Lord and he has spoken to me’Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ ‘They have taken my Lord away’ she replied ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’ As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognise him. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Jesus said, ‘Mary!’ She knew him then and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ – which means Master. Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 13, 2020 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections
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To deny our Lord’s resurrection is to deny the very foundation of our faith! So to it is when we live in fear and despair. For since our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death itself and had won for us eternal life what else is there left for us to pine for? Whatever challenges, troubles, pains, we are all facing today in the world shall all pass away. The constant that we can always and forever depend on, is God’s Word and His eternal love for us.

So my dear sisters and brothers in Christ of our Risen Lord, with joyful hearts let us celebrate the full 50 days of Easter! Let us proclaim our Risen Lord to the rest of the world, so that everyone can share in our joy and that they too can rise to new life with Him as we have and will once again do so at our death. Alleluia! Amen

First reading

Acts 2:14,22-33
God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to this

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘Men of Israel, listen to what I am going to say: Jesus the Nazarene was a man commended to you by God by the miracles and portents and signs that God worked through him when he was among you, as you all know. This man, who was put into your power by the deliberate intention and foreknowledge of God, you took and had crucified by men outside the Law. You killed him, but God raised him to life, freeing him from the pangs of Hades; for it was impossible for him to be held in its power since, as David says of him:

I saw the Lord before me always,
for with him at my right hand nothing can shake me.
So my heart was glad
and my tongue cried out with joy;
my body, too, will rest in the hope
that you will not abandon my soul to Hades
nor allow your holy one to experience corruption.
You have made known the way of life to me,
you will fill me with gladness through your presence.

‘Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us. But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn him an oath to make one of his descendants succeed him on the throne, what he foresaw and spoke about was the resurrection of the Christ: he is the one who was not abandoned to Hades, and whose body did not experience corruption. God raised this man Jesus to life, and all of us are witnesses to that. Now raised to the heights by God’s right hand, he has received from the Father the Holy Spirit, who was promised, and what you see and hear is the outpouring of that Spirit.’

Gospel

Matthew 28:8-15
Tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee: they will see me there

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.
And there, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings’ he said. And the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.’
While they were on their way, some of the guard went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” And should the governor come to hear of this, we undertake to put things right with him ourselves and to see that you do not get into trouble.’ The soldiers took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Merry Easter

Posted: April 12, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

May the loving fire of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ burn in your hearts and may His peace reign therein. Merry Easter to you and your loved ones.

Easter Sunday

Posted: April 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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They Saw and Believed: Scott Hahn Reflects on Easter Sunday

Readings:

Acts 10:34, 37–43
Psalm 118:1–2, 16–17, 22–23
Colossians 3:1–4
John 20:1–9

Jesus is nowhere visible. Yet today’s Gospel tells us that Peter and John “saw and believed.”

What did they see? Burial shrouds lying on the floor of an empty tomb. Maybe that convinced them that He hadn’t been carted off by grave robbers, who usually stole the expensive burial linens and left the corpses behind.

But notice the repetition of the word “tomb”—seven times in nine verses. They saw the empty tomb and they believed what He had promised: that God would raise Him on the third day.

Chosen to be His “witnesses,” today’s First Reading tells us, the Apostles were “commissioned . . . to preach . . . and testify” to all that they had seen—from His anointing with the Holy Spirit at the Jordan to the empty tomb.

More than their own experience, they were instructed in the mysteries of the divine economy, God’s saving plan—to know how “all the prophets bear witness” to Him (see Luke 24:27, 44).
Now they could “understand the Scripture,” could teach us what He had told them—that He was “the Stone which the builders rejected,” who, today’s Psalm prophesies, will be resurrected and exalted. (see Luke 20:17; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11).

We are the children of the apostolic witnesses. That is why we still gather early in the morning on the first day of every week to celebrate this feast of the empty tomb and give thanks for “Christ our life,” as today’s Epistle calls Him.

Baptized into His death and Resurrection, we live the heavenly life of the risen Christ, our lives “hidden with Christ in God.” We are now His witnesses, too. But we testify to things we cannot see but only believe; we seek in earthly things what is above.
We live in memory of the Apostles’ witness, like them eating and drinking with the risen Lord at the altar. And we wait in hope for what the Apostles told us would come—the day when we too “will appear with Him in glory.”


Image  —  Posted: April 11, 2020 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures, Personal Thoughts & Reflections


“For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.”

Comforting words for today, as we live the ‘Good Fridays’ of our lives. The world has been plunged once again into darkness. For many our saviour has once again died and all is lost! We are not even able to mourn and reflect traditionally as we have done over the years; together in church at 3pm. If we continue this downward spiral of feeling sorry for ourselves then we have completely missed the point of our Saviour dying for our sins thereby freeing us to live freely in His love. Our love as taught to us by our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ yesterday through the readings of Maundy Thursday is not one that is inward looking but an outward grace to put His love for us into action for others. The more we give away the more we receive from Him who gave us His all by dying on the cross for us. Let us therefore honour Him by remembering His great love outpoured for us.

We adore You O Christ and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the World. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

The servant of the Lord, an expiatory Sacrifice

See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

As the crowds were appalled on seeing him so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human so will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him; for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before: ‘Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us,

like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty we saw him, no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.

And yet ours were the sufferings he bore,

ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us. Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-House, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.

By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause? Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death. They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement,

he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.

Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death

and letting himself be taken for a sinner,

while he was bearing the faults of many

and praying all the time for sinners.

Second reading

Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 ·

The Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.

During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and entreaty, aloud and in silent tears, to the one who had the power to save him out of death, and he submitted so humbly that his prayer was heard. Although he was Son, he learnt to obey through suffering; but having been made perfect, he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.

Gospel

John 18:1-19:42

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ

Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.

N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,

✠ Who are you looking for?

N. They answered,

C. Jesus the Nazarene.

N. He said,

✠ I am he.

N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,

✠ Who are you looking for?

N. They said,

C. Jesus the Nazarene.

N. Jesus replied,

✠ I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.

N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’

Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,

✠ Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?

N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’

Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,

O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?

N. He answered,

O. I am not.

N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,

✠ I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.

N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,

O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?

N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,

O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?

N. He denied it, saying,

O. I am not.

N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,

O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?

N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.

They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,

O. What charge do you bring against this man?

N. They replied,

C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.

N. Pilate said,

O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.

N. The Jews answered,

C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.

N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.

So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,

O. Are you the king of the Jews?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?

N. Pilate answered,

O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.

N. Pilate said,

O. So you are a king, then?

N. Jesus answered,

✠ It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.

N. Pilate said,

O. Truth? What is that?

N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,

O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?

N. At this they shouted:

C. Not this man, but Barabbas.

N. Barabbas was a brigand.

Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,

C. Hail, king of the Jews!

N. and they slapped him in the face.

Pilate came outside again and said to them,

O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.

N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,

O. Here is the man.

N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,

C. Crucify him! Crucify him!

N. Pilate said,

O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.

N. The Jews replied,

C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.

N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus

O. Where do you come from?

N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,

O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?

N. Jesus replied,

✠ You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.

N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,

C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.

N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,

O. Here is your king.

N. They said,

C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!

N. Pilate said,

O. Do you want me to crucify your king?

N. The chief priests answered,

C. We have no king except Caesar.

N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,

C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’

N. Pilate answered,

O. What I have written, I have written.

N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,

C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.

N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:

They shared out my clothing among them. They cast lots for my clothes.

This is exactly what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother,

✠ Woman, this is your son.

N. Then to the disciple he said,

✠ This is your mother.

N. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said:

✠ I am thirsty.

N. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said,

✠ It is accomplished;

N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:

Not one bone of his will be broken; and again, in another place scripture says: They will look on the one whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.

On Today’s Gospel

Posted: April 9, 2020 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

Today as we begin the triduum leading to Easter, we remember our Lord’s great love for us. Once again we piece together the great tapestry of our salvation history and dwell in the mystery and the Holy presence of our Lord. The blood of the lamb that once saved the Israelites during the passover of destruction, would now and forever save the faithful in the world, through the passover of death into new life with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ the once forever lamb of God. Through Him we have the source and summit of our faith, the Holy Eucharist. The sign of the new and everlasting covenant.

Christ the most high priest Himself would therefore institute the Holy priesthood. He began through perfect love by washing the feet of his disciples. And we disciples of the Lord are to do likewise. For in the washing one another’s feet we put into action our love for one another as our Lord first loved us.

At this time we may not have the Chrism Mass, neither are we able to participate most fully at the Maundy Thursday Eucharistic Celebration nor are we able to receive Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist. Cling to Him nonetheless and we shall surely His grace and the outpouring of His love. For the Lord our God has spoken, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Amen

First reading

Exodus 12:1-8,11-14 ·
The Passover is a day of festival for all generations, for ever

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
‘This month is to be the first of all the others for you, the first month of your year. Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock, one for each family: one animal for each household. If the household is too small to eat the animal, a man must join with his neighbour, the nearest to his house, as the number of persons requires. You must take into account what each can eat in deciding the number for the animal. It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may take it from either sheep or goats. You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel shall slaughter it between the two evenings. Some of the blood must then be taken and put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten. That night, the flesh is to be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. You shall eat it like this: with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand. You shall eat it hastily: it is a passover in honour of the Lord. That night, I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, man and beast alike, and I shall deal out punishment to all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord! The blood shall serve to mark the houses that you live in. When I see the blood I will pass over you and you shall escape the destroying plague when I strike the land of Egypt. This day is to be a day of remembrance for you, and you must celebrate it as a feast in the Lord’s honour. For all generations you are to declare it a day of festival, for ever.”’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ·
Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the death of the Lord

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death.

Gospel

John 13:1-15
Now he showed how perfect his love was

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.
They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’
When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’


Today’s first reading has a special place in my heart. For the Lord has spoken these very words to me a number of times as He gently and lovingly wakes me in the morning. He reminds me just how much He loves me as I listen intently to His word and will for me. Then He sends me out to comfort those who are tired and struggling, to bring His presence to them. So that they too might know how loved they are by Him.

Have I not be tempted to sell off my relationship with Him for thirty pieces of silver? Surely I have when I choose to watch netflix, online movies for hours on end without even pausing to pray or to be His disciple. When my work in the office is all I think about even when I’m at home. When I choose to distract myself with pornographic material instead of looking upon Him. When I simply refuse to come out of my comfort zone to explore new ways, be it using the latest technology available to draw closer to Him and lead others to do likewise. When I choose to laze, eat and sleep without lifting a finger to help those in need. The list above is not exhaustive…

Yet it is in these times I must turn to my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who still loves me and confess to Him, ‘Surely it is I who have betrayed you Lord, in Your mercy Lord pardon my sins and heal me.” So that I may once again have my loving saviour wake me. To listen to Your sweet voice, receive Your grace and to begin the day in filial discipleship. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me? Then let us go to court together. Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25
‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.